Avoid highly processed foods, snacks and drinks; they are high in fat, salt and sugar.
Processed food includes any food that has been purposely changed in some way before consumption. Methods used to process foods include cooking, preservation, canning, freezing, refrigeration or dehydration. Not all processed foods are high in fat, salt, sugar or are unhealthy. It becomes risky when we eat too many heavily processed foods that have been significantly altered from its original state. These foods are high in salt, sugar and fat, low in nutrients and loaded with artificial ingredients. Every time a food is taken from one stage of processing to another, its nutrient content is reduced. Examples of highly processed foods include packaged snacks like cheese sticks, chips, corned beef, sausages, hotdog, soft drinks or sodas, cookies, fast foods and ready-to-eat meats.
Eating large amounts of heavily processed foods increases your risk for chronic non-communicable diseases like high blood pressure, heart diseases, kidney problems, obesity and some types of cancer.
How can we put this guideline into practice?
- Use local seasonings and spices to add flavour to your food
- Read food labels to know how much fat, salt and sugar is in a product
- Substitute minimally processed foods for highly processed ones
- Slowly start cutting back on highly processed foods
- Substitute parts of your meal: instead of cookies, try fresh foods like fruits; choose water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks; try sweet potato salad instead of macaroni salad
- When food shopping, go to the fresh food aisle before checking out canned or packaged foods
- Avoid having highly processed foods and drinks at home.
When you eat foods in their natural form, you’ll get more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other trace nutrients that you won’t find in packages or cans.
Grenada Food and Nutrition Council
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